He left a lucrative job outside Kashmir to start a dairy farm in his village. Adding one cow every three months, he has diversified into poultry and sheep farming. Umar Mukhtar tells his story
At a time when almost every business graduate wants to join a big corporate house with a fat pay cheque, Zishan Ali Danish, 30, an MBA from Bangalore, who hails from Ratnipora village in Pulwama, runs a successful dairy business.
After completing his masters in business administration (MBA) from Bangalore in 2012, Danish was hired by VIPRO, a leading software company based in Bangalore, but his heart was elsewhere. “After six months I left my job as I wanted to do something on my own,” said Danish, who would have drawn close to Rs 85,000 by now.
Once back home, Danish started fiddling with the ideas, and dairy farm came to his mind. “I had a farm close to my office in Bangalore. I was fascinated by the idea since my MBA days,” said Danish who wrote all his projects on the same subject.
Then finally in March 2013, Danish’s idea of starting a dairy farm took off when he started rearing a cow his family owned. “I did everything on my own from milking to cleaning the cow dung,” recalls Danish, now a known face in his village.
To kick off his dreams in a professional manner Danish bought two more cows: one each from Holliston and Jersey breed. “Six months later, I added two more cows to my shed with an aim to plunge into the dairy market and making it commercial.”
Around same time Danish approached Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) to get a loan. “I devoted the sanctioned loan for the construction of cowshed where the cows were shifted later.”
Since then Danish is adding one cow after every three months. At present Danish is rearing 16 cows and 8 calves in his farm; his monthly profit is around rupees fifty thousand. He also employs three men for their maintenance at Rs 10,000 a month per person. Besides, each employee gets two liters of milks for his personal consumption every day.
“Out of them eight cows are in milking condition and another eight are going through dry periods; a period when a cow is bearing child and not giving milk,” said Danish.
Danish produces about 135 litres per day. “We milk the cows in two shifts i.e. morning and evening. The morning shift production is sent to Srinagar while the evening production is supplied among the villagers.”
Besides milk production Danish also earns by selling the cow dung. “Every year I sell cow dung worth Rs 1.5 lakh.”
Danish has also made a composite pit inside his farm where he makes manure. “The cost of per quintal of manure is around Rs 1200,” Danish said.
But the journey had its hiccups as well. In 2014, when September floods inundated almost entire Kashmir, Danish struggled to feed his cows. “There was acute shortage of fodder in the market. Despite promises from Ministry of Animal and Sheep Husbandry, nothing was provided,” said Danish.
Then Danish went out on his own to arrange fodder for his cows. “I arranged it from Jammu when all attempts to get it locally failed. Any delay would have caused huge loses.”
Emphasizing the importance of management in running a farm, Danish said that any negligence or mismanagement could be very dangerous. “We have to keep it bacteria free all the time and the proper human resource utilisation are necessary. Whenever any cow needs any first aid I do it myself. The relation between cows and the owner is of a peculiar one, they recognize me instantly whenever I enter the shed.”
Danish has made his mind not to go for a government job instead he wants to expand his dairy business. “I want to concentrate on this sector only.”
Last year Danish started a sheep and a mini poultry farm in the premises of his dairy farm. “I have 150 sheep and around 130 hens of different breeds like Chabro, Vanraja, KCL. They lay around 50 eggs per day and each egg costs around 10 rupees in the market.”
Since the start Danish has overcome a number of hurdles to establish himself as an entrepreneur.
“Sadly there is a taboo attached with such kind of professions in our society. It does discourage you,” said Danish. “Even my father, a lecturer, was against the idea as he feared how his relatives would react.”
However, after lots of convincing Danish’s father gave him a go ahead nod. “Once the venture proved to be a success a lot of people started reacting positively,” said Danish.